Wednesday, August 26, 2015

My Tool Book Student Resource Folder

Hi there!

Anyone else have a love/hate relationship with the take home folder?

The daily drama of:
-My mom said...
-Here's a note from my pocket
-Where's the field trip form?
-I don't have it
-I don't have numbers/an alphabet at home
-No one helps me

It's too much! I am asking my kiddos to take this thing home every night for their parents and they have no reason to OWN it. It's not theirs. Which I needed to change.

The folder may be going to your parents my lovlies, but I need YOU to know whats inside, why it's important and why your parents need it too. Enter My Tool Book...

....It's a tool box folder style! There are plenty of resources for parents AND kids. I want my kiddos to use their folder daily for homework help. It is going to be their best friend throughout the year.

After they get the hang of taking it home, I will add project pages and special directions for using the resource pages - i.e. cover half the letters and play memory with an adult.

We're implementing Standards Based Grading this year and part of that movement is helping kids OWN what they are doing in school and understand the purpose of what we are learning. This system mirrors these views - help kids OWN it. The more ownership, the more dedication we have, and the more learning we are enabled to do!

Plus, having everything all in one place streamlines and simplifies things - work smarter not harder folks.

Do you use something like this is your classroom? How has it worked for you?

Monday, August 24, 2015

APPmazing iPad apps that you SHOULD pay for!

I know, I know, I have been promoting free apps for the last two weeks here and here. BUT, you cannot run an efficient iPad classroom on free apps alone.  Investing in the right paid apps can be a difficult decision to make (believe me, I have bought some major fluke apps).

I have also bought some apps that I haaaated, but my kids were obsessed with. Thus, this informal review here is based on two things - age appropriate concepts and activities & engagement level/enthusiasm with the kiddos.

Writing Wizard 
Let your kiddos do some fun and engaging letter, sight word, CVC or fine motor practice. Kids trace learning target and must stay on the lines in order to move on. "Pencil" colors range from rainbow to bouncing Santas. Then kids CANNOT get enough of this one! Add your own word list to differentiate!

ABC Magnetic
Use a virtual magnetic board for spelling, CVC creations, center responses, small group instruction or just fun!

Monkey Math
I had to ration this app. My kids were crazy about it! Math concepts are spiraled throughout the app disguised as games. 

Teach Me Kindergarten
Both math and literacy skills are addressed driven by voice directions. Easy to navigate! Crowd favorite!

Eggy Words
Another app that I have to cut off or my kids would play it exclusively! They love to sit in a circle and time the app just right so they can all play together. There are plenty of sight words they know plus a good number of challenge words too! 

I am going to end here with a few of our other crowd favorites as you and your kiddos really just need to play around with the apps to see if they work for your class...

...A few of the others that we can't do without on our devices are:
-Park Math
-Montessori Numberland
-Hungry Fish
-Little Writer PRO

A more extensive description of most of these apps can be found on Common Sense Media, which is a great resource when you are navigating 1:1 tech in the classroom!

Hope you enjoy these apps as much as my kiddos do. What are some of your favorites? 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

APPmazing Free Literacy Apps (for iPad)

Any teacher in a 1:1 iPad classroom will tell you it can be a nightmare to get every app on every kiddos iPad. Sometimes the syncing factor works (we buy apps in bulk), sometimes it doesn't. And it usually doesn't for free apps, which is why I've included a little FREEBIE for you in this week's APPmazing edition.

First let's talk literacy apps.

Teaching literacy in K changes daily, as do the needs of our kiddos. One day an "A" is a "Q" and the next were reading, chopping, stretching, etc. Not only do their need change, but we have the "I'm boooreeddd" factor to deal with so we have to flip those apps through a rotation like a ferris wheel.

I've compiled some of our classroom's most used apps. They are kid tested and approved. The kids go back to these over and over again and many address multiple skills.

So first the highlights and then the FREEBIE!



Print this page for a bulletin board or center so that kids can scan the code and access the app easily. I do this to help my kids when downloading the apps. They scan the code, the app store link comes up and we are set. It's a wonderful thing. 

If you're all ready to get started with FREE math and literacy apps, check out my APP Ready Pack HERE with QR codes for 80 apps plus some extras!